British cell and gene therapy accelerator releases annual report

The CGT Catapult has worked on more than 110 projects addressing industry challenges

The CGT Catapult, the UK's cell and gene therapy accelerator, has released its annual review 2019. The document highlights some key successes from the last 12 months, including the granting of two manufacturing licences from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) allowing for manufacture of clinical material at CGT catapult’s manufacturing centre, and the set up of the first apprenticeship programme specifically for advanced therapies and the establishment of the Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre Network.

Defined as a centre of excellence in innovation, the CGT Catapult manufacturing centre in London is a key asset in the UK cell and gene therapy ecosystem. It is now enabling five companies to develop their manufacturing processes and, in March, TCR2 Therapeutics was announced as the first US collaborator to set up the development of their processes at the centre.

Upon completion, the 7,000 sqm centre will contain 12 cleanrooms for large-scale cell and gene therapy manufacture

The centre has been awarded £3.6m funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and a £12m Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) award to undergo further expansion. Upon completion, the 7,000 sqm centre will contain 12 cleanrooms for large-scale cell and gene therapy manufacture.

Skills shortages

In the year 2018-2019, CGT Catapult worked on more than 110 projects to help address industry challenges. To address industry skills shortages, CGT Catapult has worked with partners to establish the first apprenticeship programme specifically for advanced therapies.

Thirty two apprentices are currently employed and 65 apprentices will be employed across the industry during the first year of the programme. The year has also seen CGT Catapult co-ordinating the establishment of the three Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres, and progress made to help overcome barriers for adoption of advanced therapies by the NHS.

The 2018-19 CGT Catapult achievements accompany an impressive year for the cell and gene therapy industry in the UK which has seen NHS England announce the availability of CAR-T treatments for cancer patients, and the first-time patients in Europe having routine access to CAR-T therapies.

More than 85 projects are shaping the growing pipeline of clinical trials ongoing in the UK, including 10 approved cell and gene therapies—four of these have gained approval in the last 12 months—are numbers that underscore the UK as an active player in the development and adoption of these therapies.

CGT Catapult is actively addressing challenges to accelerate ATMP development, making the UK an attractive place for advanced therapy, research, development and manufacture

”During the past 12 months, we have seen the UK cell and gene therapy ecosystem flourish, and it is now recognised around the world. By working closely with and connecting all of the organisations that make up the ecosystem, CGT Catapult is actively addressing challenges to accelerate ATMP development, making the UK an attractive place for advanced therapy, research, development and manufacture," said Keith Thompson, Chief Executive Officer.

"We will continue to work with Innovate UK, UKRI and the NHS towards our vision for the UK to be the leader in the development, delivery and commercialisation of cell and gene therapies by anticipating the challenges that will face the industry and finding ways to overcome them,” he added.

The CGT Catapult review is available online.

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